Are you SO DONE with dorm life?
Living off-campus can provide a great transition to what it will be like when you graduate and have a job. You will learn independence, budgeting, discipline, and how to manage your own space.
Here are 7 things to consider when you think you want to move off campus:
1. Rent: You will have to pay monthly rent. Calculate the cost for a year and take into consideration you may have to sublet the apartment over the summer if you plan to return home. Make sure the landlord allows subletting. If you will have roommates, make sure you know them well. What are their living habits? How responsible are they? Do they respect privacy? Will they pay their share of the rent and expenses each month?
2. Other expenses: What is included in the rent? Heat? Water? Wifi? Ask the landlord for the typical monthly costs of utilities during each season, so you can estimate what you will owe.
3. Food: How expensive is food? Who will grocery shop? Who will cook? How will you share the expenses?
4. Furnishings: Not all apartments come furnished. Is there a good used furniture store nearby? Are your parents willing to give you cast-offs?
5. Getting to class: Can you walk?bike? Will you need a car? Is there public transportation? If you will need a car or a bus, consider the costs of gas, tokens, parking permits, car insurance, etc. (and don’t forget the occasional parking ticket because you will get one).
6. Quiet hours: In the dorm, you have enforced quiet hours. Off-campus, you are in charge of yourself. Not only do you need to be sure your roommates are willing to set time to study and sleep, you need to be aware that too much noise after hours will cause neighbors to call the police. Most neighborhoods surrounding colleges have a noise ordinance in place.
7. Safety: Choose your neighborhood carefully. Find out the crime stats for several years. What safety measures are there for your rental? Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Is there a fire extinguisher provided? Does the building have updated and inspected wiring? Is there an easy escape route in an emergency? Is there a safe place to park, store things, such as bikes? Is the walk to campus through safe areas?
For more of the pros/cons of off-campus living, read here.
Now – to get down to brass tacks! Here are some must-haves when living off-campus:
8. A crock-pot
9. A decent set of pots and pans
10. Renter’s insurance (college renter’s insurance)
11. Fire extinguisher
12. Complete toolbox (a toolbox for every need)
13. Jumper cables (how to use jumper cables)
14. A vacuum
15. Spare car keys
16. An emergency fund (why you need one)
17. Recycling bins (labeled well so everyone uses them)